New York: A group of Tibetans have refused to end their nearly month-long hunger strike outside the UN headquarters here, demanding the intervention of the world body in assessing the situation in Tibet and putting pressure on China to end its suppression of the Tibetan people.

Three Tibetans - Shingza Rinpoche(32), Dorjee Gyalpo(59) and Yeshi Tenzing(39) have been on hunger strike in front of the United Nations since February 22 to draw its attention towards the suffering of the Tibetan people under Chinese occupation, Tibetan Youth Congress president Tsewang Rigzin said.

Rigzin said through the hunger strike, the group wants to urge the UN to send a fact finding delegation inside Tibet to assess the critical situation there.

The world body should also pressure China to "stop the undeclared martial law in Tibet, allow international media to investigate and report on the atrocities and release political prisoners," he said.

Camped outide the UN headquarters, the three hunger strikers, wrapped in blankets, are surrounded by Tibetan flags and banners. They have garnered support and interest from various rights groups and passersby.

Rigzin said that the New York Police Department has taken one of the hunger-strikers, Gyalpo to a hospital due to his ill-health. Tibetans at the site resisted the police action and blocked the ambulance for about half an hour.

Gyalpo has vowed not to eat even in the hospital, Rigzin said, adding that the Tibetans will not end their hunger strike unless the UN responds to their appeals.

"They are ready to risk their lives and "go the distance" for their cause," he said.

"The ball is in the court of the UN. Whether these people live or die is the hands of the UN now. The Tibetans will be proud to breathe their last in front of the UN if it comes to that," Rigzin said.

About 30 Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire so far protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Rigzin said that 17 of these self-immolations have happened in the last two months alone. "It clearly shows that the Tibetan people are completely against the Chinese government. Since the Chinese occupation, China has implemented many policies to destroy the Tibetan nation and its people."

Meanwhile, UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon has expressed concern over the health of the three on hunger strike. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic had met Rigzin last week and said that he would convey the group'  concerns to the relevant Special Rapporteur and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Simonovic has also met with the Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations regarding the issue.

Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said the Secretary-General has affirmed the right of all people to peaceful protest but is "very concerned about the health of the hunger striking protesters."

Rigzin said while he appreciates Simonovic meeting him, "that will not be enough" and the group will continue to demand concrete action from the UN.